Dubai 2016: Week 12

Another busy week!

After the gym on Sunday, Dad and I decided to go out for lunch. I wanted to look at some dresses at the Dubai Mall – I was having my birthday drinks on Friday and wanted to look around. He wanted to look at electronics. So we decided to have lunch at Markette, opposite the Aquarium.

We got there at around 2pm. We both ordered the smoked salmon galette, which was much heavier than I thought it would be. I ordered a mixed salad on the side and Dad had the seafood chowder.

After lunch we walked to Debenhams. I was so full – and perhaps trying on clothes after a heavy meal wasn’t the best idea. There was absolutely nothing that I really liked. I tried on one dress, but it looked awful. In the end, I decided I’d wear something I already had.

We walked to the electronics section and stopped at Samsung. I had a look at the new Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, which I’d had my eye on for a while. I decided I’d buy it, and in the end Dad bought it for me as an early birthday present. We went home and I spent the rest of the afternoon setting up my new phone and then worked into the night.

I had a session with Pete on Monday morning. A friend of ours was in town on his way back to Bali so we met him for lunch at the JW Marriott Marquis. I’d been craving Italian food (no idea why) but the Italian restaurant, Positano, was closed for lunch. We ended up at Kitchen 6, the ‘international’ restaurant. There was so much food – I started with some hummus and salad. I then wandered over to the Italian section, but I’d also spotted the roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, so I ended up with that instead. The trouble with buffets is I just don’t know what to eat (or when to stop).

After lunch, we went back home. I did a bit of work and then went to Arabic.

After the gym on Tuesday, I got on with some work. That evening, I went to Bahri Bar for a friend’s birthday. It was ladies night so we got three free glasses of Prosecco. We also had some food – and because we had Entertainer vouchers, two of the dishes were free. I was home by 10.30pm and did a bit more work.

After my session with Pete on Wednesday, I worked until the late afternoon. I had a piano lesson and then went straight to Arabic. It took me 20 minutes to get to the Trade Centre from Said Tower 1, which is almost just across the road! Traffic is crazy at that time of day.

I went to yoga on Thursday morning. By the time I got home after running some errands it was time for lunch. I also came home to this box:

2016-03-24 13.28.03

And when I opened it and put the pieces together I had a terrarium for my desk.

2016-03-24 13.10.33

Apparently it needs minimal care (thank God) and it’s very cute.

I got back into my pajamas and worked for the rest of the day. I didn’t want to go out that night as I knew Friday would be busy and I didn’t want to be tired. Clearly, this is a sign of age.

My sister arrived with her friends early on Friday morning. She was staying at the Shangri-La for Easter weekend, but popped in for a while to say hi on Friday morning. After lunch I walked over to the Shangri-La to get my hair and nails done, and she and her friends joined me at the salon. I relaxed for the rest of the day (the three of them went to the Dubai Mall).

That evening I’d invited a few friends to celebrate my birthday at the Ikandy at the Shangri-La poolside. I got there a little before 8pm and was really pleased with the area they’d arranged.

2016-03-25 19.51.32

Two friends arrived at 8pm on the dot as they didn’t want me sitting there by myself. Isn’t that so sweet?? We chatted for a while and opened the vodka – and by 8.30pm a few more people had arrived. I’d asked the manager to serve the food between 9 and 11pm – and there was so much of it! I think everyone had a good time – I know I did. I’d asked friends not to bring presents, but some just couldn’t help themselves. By 2am I’d signed the tab and two friends and I decided to have a drink at the Balcony Bar before they walked me home with my presents.

I spent most of the next day relaxing. I opened my presents (mostly books, alcohol and wine glasses), had some lunch and got back into bed while my sister and her friends traipsed around Mirdif City Centre all day. I met them in the evening at Ikandy for a drink before heading to Zuma for a late dinner. It was a very chilled evening…

I love my life.

For more updates, click here.

Advertisements

The final few

I skipped the gym on Sunday. It was my last day of having the place to myself and I wanted to make the most of it!

I had a session with Pete on Monday morning. We had our session at the pool again as the gym is still being renovated. They’ve laid the wooden floor down and painted the walls. I hope they upgrade the machines as well though.

My warmup consisted of jogging around the pool five times. Honestly, I didn’t think I’d be able to do it without stopping every now and then, but I managed it. I think I was going really slowly though! We set up the mat, shuttle markers and kettlebell in the shade.

2015-11-30 11.36.15

After some thorough stretching, I did three sets of the following exercises:

  • Shuttle runs x 30 s
  • Side squats x 10 in each direction
  • Rest x 20 s

In the first set, I touched the markers 9 times. In the second set, Pete told me to go a little faster and touch them 10 times. And in the third set, he wanted me to touch them 11 times, but I went 2 s over the 30 s. The side squats were considered ‘active rest’ (which is just BS as it’s no rest at all) and I had exercise tubes around my knees to make it a bit harder.

I had a longer water break and then did the following circuit with an 8-kg kettlebell:

  • Kettlebell swings x 3
  • Combined squat/upright row x 2
  • Overhead tricep extension x 1
  • Repeat five more times, no breaks
  • Rest x 1 min

I did that three times. After a longer rest, Pete told me the next circuit would work my upper body:

  • Pushups x 12
  • Low row x 12
  • Rest
  • Repeat two more times

I managed to do the pushups without stopping each time, until the last set where I struggled with the last two or three. For the low row, Pete passed the exercise tubes behind his back and I had to hold the handles and pull the ends towards me.

After that, I had another short break followed by an abs circuit. Pete told me we’d do two sets, possibly three, depending on how I was feeling. He told me what the exercises were and I really thought I’d be able to manage three sets.

  • Mountain climbers x 30 s
  • Double crunches x 20
  • Plank x 30 s
  • Situps x 20
  • Rest

After the first set, he pulled me up and told me to walk around during the rest. Why couldn’t I just lie on the mat?? I told him it was actually harder than I thought it would be, but I still thought I could do three sets. In the second set, I did it all but struggled with the plank – and even the double crunches and situps were tough. He said I’d worked very hard in the session so I’d only do two sets.

I did a few stretches after that and went home.

My abs were so sore on Tuesday, and my hamstrings were a bit sore too! I woke up and struggled to get into a sitting position (pathetic, I know). I hadn’t felt this sore in a long time. I decided not to go to the gym – I had errands to run and work to finish off before travelling on Friday.

I had my 20th session with Pete on Wednesday (time flies)! We stopped to look at the gym – the floor had been done and all the machines were back where they used to be. All three treadmills have new running belts, but I didn’t check out the cross-trainers. There was still a sign on the door that said the gym was out of use so we carried on outside as we had planned. At least I wouldn’t have to renew my membership at the Shangri-La when I got back – yay!

I started with the 1-to-5 warmup:

  • 1 squat, 1 pushup, 1 situp
  • 2 squats, 2 pushups, 2 situps
  • 3 squats, 3 pushups, 3 situps
  • 4 squats, 4 pushups, 4 situps
  • 5 squats, 5 pushups, 5 situps
  • 4 squats, 4 pushups, 4 situps
  • 3 squats, 3 pushups, 3 situps
  • 2 squats, 2 pushups, 2 situps
  • 1 squat, 1 pushup, 1 situp

My abs were still sore so those situps were painful. I then did some stretches and we started with a Tabata circuit:

  • High knees x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Ski slides x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Butt kickers x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Ski slides x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Repeat immediately, no rest

Pete added some resistance by putting me in a harness of sorts. Well, not really a harness, more like a band that went around my hips that he held on to and pulled on so I’d have to keep working. It reminded me of the pool at South Fork when I visited Dallas many years ago – on the show it always looked like they were swimming furiously but in fact they were all tethered to the side of the pool and going nowhere. Also, the pool was the size of my bathroom!

After the Tabata circuit, he laid out the shuttlerun discs in a zig-zag route.

2015-12-02 11.19.57

He told me the zig-zag run would start with the disc in the bottom right corner of the photo, then run to and around the disc in the bottom left of the photo, then run to and around the middle disc on the right, then to and around the one on the top left and then to the disc on the top right. Once I got to the last disc, I would do walking lunges in a straight line back to the first disc. And once I got to the first disc, I would run one lap around the pool. So:

  • Zig-zag run
  • Walking lunges
  • Lap around the pool
  • Rest

He said he would time me. In the first set, I did it in 45 seconds. In the second set, I managed to shorten my time by half a second! I told Pete that at least I was consistent. In the third set, I did the circuit in 43:08! And in the fourth set, I did it in 41:something (I can’t remember what it was).

I had some more water and did three sets of the following exercises

  • Back extensions x 12
  • Pushups x 12

And then came an abs circuit. I did two sets of these four exercises:

  • Leg slides (aka ‘the breakdancer‘) x 30 s
  • Abdominal toe touches x 20
  • Plank x 30 s
  • Combined single leg raise/crunch x 20
  • Rest

Oh. My. God. My abs were on fire after two rounds of that! On the plus side, at least I know I have abs somewhere deep inside me, even if I can’t see them!

I did some stretches after that and we were done! It was my last session with Pete before my holiday and I wouldn’t see him again until after Christmas.

Low point of the week? Just two workouts this week… and even then having such sore abs!

High point of the week? Heading off on holiday!

Weight loss? Still going up and down!

2015-04-26 17.57.23

Read more updates here.

The final few

I was tired on Sunday and decided to skip the gym. I also had several deadlines for Monday so thought it would be best if I spent the day working.

I had a session with Pete on Monday morning. I overslept and didn’t even have a cup of tea before my session. As the building gym was closed for renovation, we had our session outside by the pool. He brought kettlebells and the TRX cable and I took my mat (but didn’t use it).

It was the first session I’d had with Pete where I just couldn’t be bothered to do anything. I don’t know whether I was tired or whether being outside felt weird, but I just wasn’t in the mood to do any of it. But I still did it. I started with a warmup:

  • Light jog x 2 lengths of the pool
  • Sideways jog x 2 lengths of the pool
  • High knees x 2 lengths of the pool (the second length was backwards)
  • Butt kickers x 2 lengths of the pool (the second length was backwards)
  • Running x 2 lengths of the pool

I did some stretches after that and then did the first set of exercises:

  • Kettlebell swings x 15 (8-kg weight)
  • Sumo squats x 15 (with kettlebell)
  • Combined knee-up/twist x 10 on each side
  • Shuttle runs x 2 lengths of the pool
  • Rest x 20 s
  • Shuttle runs x 2 lengths of the pool
  • Rest

I did that two more times and had a longer rest while Pete set up the TRX cable.

I did three sets of the following exercises:

  • TRX pullups x 14
  • TRX curtsy lunges x 7 on each side (alternating)
  • TRX pushups x 14
  • High knees x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Side to side jumping x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Butt kickers x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Jumping jacks x 20 s
  • Rest

Being outside with the TRX reminded me of Randy – gosh, that feels like a very long time ago but it’s only been 2 years.

I then did two sets of the following exercises using the Kettlebell:

I did some stretches after that and was done – yay!

I had my usual yoga class on Tuesday morning. My cousin and I have been thinking about not continuing with this class next year. I think that’s mainly driven by me though – as I feel that every class is the same and I can’t even tell if I’ve made any progress in the last few months. I think I’ll decide once I’m back from my trip to Bali in December.

It had been very overcast on Tuesday and it even rained for a while. When I woke up on Wednesday it was still grey, but not wet, so Pete and I carried on outside.

2015-11-25 11.15.53

There was a lovely breeze and I wondered whether I’d been so miserable on Monday because I was out in the sun and was feeling too hot. The other good thing about Wednesday’s session was that Pete told me there would be no shuttle runs. Hurrah! I rolled out my mat and began with the 1-to-5 warmup:

  • 1 squat, 1 pushup, 1 situp
  • 2 squats, 2 pushups, 2 situps
  • 3 squats, 3 pushups, 3 situps
  • 4 squats, 4 pushups, 4 situps
  • 5 squats, 5 pushups, 5 situps
  • 4 squats, 4 pushups, 4 situps
  • 3 squats, 3 pushups, 3 situps
  • 2 squats, 2 pushups, 2 situps
  • 1 squat, 1 pushup, 1 situp

I was quite warm after that! I did a few stretches and then did three sets of the following:

While I was lunging forward I would have to pass the kettlebell to my other hand through my legs. It took some coordination and balance, but I got there eventually! During the third set it started to drizzle. I didn’t even notice it at first, but we carried on anyway. It wasn’t heavy enough to stop our session and I found it quite refreshing.

Pete set up the TRX cable. I did the following circuit three times:

It was tough. And the second set of exercises wasn’t any easier. I did three sets of this circuit:

That was even harder! I could really feel it in my triceps during that circuit.

Then came the next circuit, with a Kettlebell for some of it:

  • Kettlebell swings x 15 (8-kg weight)
  • Kettlebell side bends x 10 on each side
  • Mountain climbers x 30 s
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Repeat

I did some stretches after that and went home.

The next morning my glutes and my triceps were sore. I went to the gym at the Shangri-La and did 3 km on the treadmill (28:35). I alternated the speed between 6 km/h and 6.6 km/h. I then did Week 2 Day 2 of the Great Butt app:

  • Reverse leg lifts x 6 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse leg lifts x 6 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse leg lifts x 6 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse kicks x 6 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse kicks x 6 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Butt raises x 7
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Butt raises x 6
  • Rest

Then I did the Week 2 Day 2 of the Great Abs app:

  • Crunches x 6
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Crunches x 5
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Crunches x 5
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Side obliques x 6 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Side obliques x 6 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse crunches x 5
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse crunches x 5
  • Rest

I did a few stretches after that and went home.

I went back to the gym on Friday morning. I did 3 km on the treadmill, alternating between 6 km/h and 8 km/h. I did the 3 km in 26:51. I then did Week 2 Day 3 of the Great Butt app:

  • Reverse leg lifts x 7 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse leg lifts x 6 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse leg lifts x 6 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse kicks x 6 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse kicks x 6 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Butt raises x 7
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Butt raises x 6
  • Rest

I then did Week 2 Day 3 of the Great Abs app:

  • Crunches x 6
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Crunches x 7
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Crunches x 5
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Side obliques x 7 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Side obliques x 7 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse crunches x 5
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse crunches x 5
  • Rest

I did some stretches after that and went home.

Low point of the week? I can’t think of anything!

High point of the week? Five workouts done this week!

Weight loss? Still going up and down, but I think I’m starting to see a downward trend (I hope!).

2015-11-28 15.28.42

Read more updates here.

The final few

I didn’t go to the gym on Sunday morning as I was going to a Sculpt Yoga class that evening. I had been wanting to meet up with Chandra (who runs the Jamaican yoga retreats) and she suggested joining her class at 7.30pm and then getting some food afterwards. I agreed – and I think she was shocked! She teaches twice a week at Rawr Yoga Studio in Media City and I kept promising I would go to one of her classes – so this was the perfect time.

So, on the website the class is described as:

Fast-paced, full body workout with music that combines the best of cardio, strength training and yoga moves. This class features the use of individual hand-weights to target all major muscle groups.

Oh god, it sounded like torture! I somehow managed to convince a friend (S) to come with me – and in return I would have to go to a swing yoga class with her on Tuesday.

It took me 40 minutes to get to the studio in Media City, but I made it in time. I got changed, shoved my things in a locker and went to the studio. It was warm in there, but I think that’s either because there was a Bikram yoga class in the studio just before our class, or the heat from the Bikram class next door was making its way into ours. I wasn’t expecting it to be that warm.

It was a tough class! The warmup was pretty standard, and the sun salutations were fast, but I managed to keep up (I think). And then there were jumping jacks and mountain climbers, and bicep curls and squats and lunges. By the end of it, when I lay down in savasana, I was drenched in sweat. My t-shirt felt like it had just come out of the washing machine. I was so glad that was over!

The following morning, S texted me saying that if my legs weren’t sore she was never speaking to me again! I moved around a bit and realised that only my shoulders were a little sore.

I had a session with Pete on Monday. When we got to the gym there was a vague notice stuck on the door saying that the gym would be out of use for ‘some days’. The notice wasn’t dated so how were we supposed to know when it would be back in use. We went in anyway and everything looked fine so we carried on with our session. I started with a 10-minute warmup on the treadmill:

  • Walk x 3 min
  • Run 30 s, walk 30 s x 4 min
  • Run x 3 min

I struggled. I’d slept badly and I was tired and dehydrated (not hungover). I did the warmup stretches and did the following circuit with two 10-lb dumbbells:

  • Deadlift x 1
  • Bent-over row x 1
  • Front squat x 1
  • Straight leg deadlift x 1
  • Reverse lunge x 1 on each side
  • Sumo squat x 1
  • Repeat five more times, no breaks
  • Rest x 90 s
  • Repeat two more times

Well, if my legs weren’t sore on Monday morning, they would definitely be sore on Tuesday! I had some water and then did the following circuit three times with no breaks:

  • Treadmill run x 100 m
  • Side leg raises/reverse kicks x 10 on each side

After some more water, I did two sets of this circuit holding one 10-lb dumbbell:

  • Combined bench squat/upper body twist x 10
  • Combined unilateral Russian twist/press x 10 on each side
  • Toe touches x 20
  • Rest

I then did 3 minutes on the treadmill at 5.2 km/h at an incline of 3%. I did a few stretches after that and was done. Yay!

I did ache a bit on Tuesday – especially my hamstrings and glutes. That evening I joined S at a swing yoga class at Voyoga in Tecom. I was nervous, I have to admit. My greatest fear was that the bolts in the ceiling holding up the hammock would pop out and I’d end up in a heap on the floor. Or the hammock would tear and I’d end up in a heap on the floor. Most of my fears involved me ending up in a heap on the floor.

I knew the class would be tough, but I had no idea how bloody hard it was! I found the warmup difficult! I (re)learned that I have no upper body strength, and the one time I did manage to get into an inversion I was so scared of falling that I wouldn’t let go of the hammock while I was upside down. I kept worrying that I’d slip out of the hammock during certain poses… I find some yoga poses hard enough on a flat surface, but to think about balancing while suspended and not falling as well was just too much for me!

In spite of all that, I would go back. Perhaps it was just first-time nerves and I didn’t know what to expect. Perhaps one day I’ll be able to do this:

On my way to meet Pete for our session on Wednesday morning, I suddenly wondered whether the work had started on our gym yet. Sure enough, I got there and all the machines were in the corridors and the room was totally bare. I asked one of the workmen how long the gym would be out of order and he said, ‘I don’t know. One month? Maybe two weeks?’ He was right – he didn’t know. Pete and I had a look around the pool area outside – the weather is much cooler now so he said he’d bring his equipment on Monday and we could have a session outside. I felt bad that he’d come all that way for nothing!

On my way back into the building, I stopped by the management office to find out what was going on. The guy in the office (the one I’d complained to about the treadmills) said it would be ‘about one week maybe’. As vague as the notice! I asked him what they were doing to the gym – he said they were redoing the floor, repainting the walls and repairing the machines. Wow. Let’s hope it’s as good as it sounds!

I ended up going to the Shangri-La gym for a workout. I did 3 km on the treadmill (27:51). I started alternating between 5.5 km/h and 7.5 km/h and then decided to alternate between 6 km/h and 8 km/h. I alternated walking and running – and I alternated between 30-s walks/runs and 1-min walks/runs. I then did Week 1 Day 3 of the Great Butt app:

  • Reverse leg lifts x 6 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse leg lifts x 6 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse kicks x 6 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse kicks x 6 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Butt raises x 6
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Butt raises x 6
  • Rest

I then did the Great Abs app:

  • Crunches x 5
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Crunches x 5
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Side obliques x 6 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Side obliques x 6 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse crunches x 5
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse crunches x 5
  • Rest

I did a few stretches after that and went home.

On Thursday morning I went back to the Shangri-La and did 3 km on the treadmill – alternating between 6 km/h and 8 km/h. I managed the 3 km in 27:33. I then did Week 2 Day 1 of the Great Butt and Great Abs app. The Great Butt app went like this:

  • Reverse leg lifts x 6 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse leg lifts x 6 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse leg lifts x 5 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse kicks x 6 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse kicks x 5 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Butt raises x 5
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Butt raises x 5
  • Rest

I then did the Great Abs app:

  • Crunches x 5
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Crunches x 5
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Crunches x 5
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Side obliques x 6 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Side obliques x 6 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse crunches x 5
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse crunches x 5
  • Rest

I didn’t work out again at the weekend.

I’ve reached a point where I’m wondering why I bother. I’ve been working out consistently for the last few weeks, four to five times a week and I’m not seeing any results. I feel like nothing has changed. Yes, I know my weekends involve food and alcohol but the rest of the week, I’m very careful about what I eat and try to avoid carbs at night as much as possible. Anyway, I’ll stick to it for now and see what happens…

Low point of the week? I ate and drank a lot on Friday – I was out for brunch.

High point of the week? Five workouts done this week!

Weight loss? Still going up and down.

Diet 2

Read more updates here.

The final few

I woke up on Sunday unable to move – I’d had a late night the night before. My plans for going to the gym went out the window.

I had a session with Pete on Monday morning. I warmed up with a 10-minute uphill walk, starting with an incline of 1% and increasing it each minute until I was walking at an incline of 10%. I did some stretches after that and Pete told me I was going to do a metabolic circuit. It sounded painful. He also told me he had a new toy we were going to use. I corrected him: ‘You mean a new instrument of torture!’

I began with 4 minutes on the treadmill, alternating 30 s of walking with 30 s of running.

I then did:

  • Combined squat/shoulder press x 6 (10-lb weights)
  • Repeat each minute for 6 minutes

Oh yes, I’d done something similar the week before and it wasn’t too bad. Pete told me he was making it harder this time. Instead of resting for the rest of the minute after I’d finished the exercise, I’d have to do 10 reps of an abs exercise. So really, it was more like this:

  • Combined squat/shoulder press x 6 (10-lb weights)
  • Abdominal knee-ins x 10 (for the first 3 minutes)
  • Rest for the rest of the minute (if there was any time left)
  • Combined squat/shoulder press x 6 (10-lb weights)
  • Abdominal toe touches x 10 (for the last 3 minutes)
  • Rest for the rest of the minute (if there was any time left)

So by the end of that, I was pretty tired!

He then opened the ladder and told me I would do a 4-minute Tabata circuit. I told him I’d used the ladder before and he said that it wasn’t the new toy. The circuit went like this:

  • Lateral high knees x 20 s (2:01 in the video)
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Jumping jacks x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • In-in, out-out x 20 s (1:07 in the video)
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Side to side jumps x 20 s
  • Rest x 10 s
  • Repeat (no break)

I then did three sets of the following without a break:

  • Standing oblique twist x 10 (15-lb weight)
  • Bicep curls x 10 (10-lb weights)
  • Standing side leg raises x 20 on each side

I had a water break and then Pete pulled out his new toy: Slides (or gliding discs)! My feet or elbows would be the slides while doing two of the exercises. The circuit was as follows:

  • Mountain climbers (with slides) x 30 s
  • Rest x 30 s
  • T raise (lifting opposite arm and leg) x 30
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Pulses (elbows on slides) x 30 s
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Double crunch x 30 s
  • Rest

For the pulses, I was on my knees and elbows with my elbows on the slides. I had to move my elbows forward and back at the same time! Totally knew to me, but I could really feel it in my abs. I did some stretching after that and was done.

I was all set for yoga on Tuesday morning but my teacher texted at 9am to say that she had a flat tyre and wouldn’t be able to make it. As I was up and ready, I decided to go to the gym instead. I started doing the 5k Runner app but a few minutes in I decided I didn’t really feel like it so I alternated walking and running each minute until I got to 20 minutes.

I then tried two new apps from Fitness22.com which I’d downloaded a few days before: Great Abs and Great Butt!

Week 1 Day 1 of the Great Abs app went like this:

  • Crunches x 4
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Crunches x 4
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Side obliques x 5 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Side obliques x 5 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse crunches x 5
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse crunches x 5
  • Rest

Easy! And a bit less monotonous than just doing situps.

Week 1 Day 1 of the Great Butt app went like this:

  • Reverse leg lifts x 5 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse leg lifts x 5 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse kicks x 5 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse kicks x 5 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Butt raises x 5
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Butt raises x 5
  • Rest

I did a few stretches after that and went home.

I had a session with Pete on Wednesday morning. I started with a 10-minute warmup on the treadmill:

  • Walking x 4 min
  • Running x 30 s
  • Walking x 30 s
  • Running x 30 s
  • Walking x 30 s
  • Running x 30 s
  • Walking x 30 s
  • Running x 3 min

I did some stretches after that and did the following circuit:

I did that three times continuously, without any breaks, and Pete timed me. In the first set, Pete put the treadmill speed at 8 km/h and then increased it to 8.3 km/h. By the time I finished I was totally breathless. I barely breathed while I did the next round of kettlebell swings and the ladder. When I was on the treadmill the second time, he told me to walk for 60 m at a speed of 6 km/h to catch my breath and then put the speed up to 7.5 km/h. When I got to the treadmill the third time, I walked for 20 m and then ran the rest of the way. It took me 9 minutes and 15 seconds. It felt like a lot longer, but I also felt that my time should have been shorter!

He told me that my running technique was fine – I could do the long strides to run 8.5 km/h. He said I’d even have no trouble doing 9 km/h but I needed to work on my breathing. He also said he suspected half the problem was in my head. Yes, I do have a block when it comes to running!

That circuit was tough. I had a rest and had some water. I wanted to have a nap but didn’t think Pete would let me. He pulled out the slides again, admitting he was a little in love with them! I did the next circuit:

I did that circuit three times continuously, no breaks. I asked Pete if he thought that my body had changed at all over the last few weeks. Sometimes I think it has and at other times I feel like I’m working out with absolutely nothing to show for it. He said my waist was a lot more toned, as well as my legs and bum. Hmm. OK, then.

After that I went back to the treadmill for 4 minutes, walking at a speed of 6 km/h at an incline of 6%. That was followed by an abs circuit:

  • Slides in and out x 30 s (3:21 in the video)
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Double crunches x 30 s
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Plank x 30 s
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Situps x 30 s
  • Rest

The slides were the worst out of that group! I did some stretches after that and was done for the day. That session really wiped me out though and I spent the rest of the day trying to keep my eyes open!

I woke up on Thursday to a grey and wet Dubai. Ugh, the whole city comes to a standstill when it rains for 5 minutes and apparently so do I. I decided to skip the gym and spend the day at home working.

Even though I was out late on Thursday night, I went to the gym at the Shangri-La on Friday morning. I didn’t feel like running but I thought even a 30-minute walk on the treadmill would be better than sitting in bed. I walked for 30 minutes on the treadmill, varying the speed between 6 km/h and 6.5 km/h. I did 3.06 km. After the treadmill I did Week 1 Day 2 of the Great Abs and Great Butt apps.

Week 1 Day 2 of the Great Butt app went like this:

  • Reverse leg lifts x 6 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse leg lifts x 5 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse kicks x 5 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse kicks x 5 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Butt raises x 6
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Butt raises x 5
  • Rest

Week 1 Day 2 of the Great Abs app went like this:

  • Crunches x 5
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Crunches x 5
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Side obliques x 5 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Side obliques x 5 on each side
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse crunches x 5
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Reverse crunches x 5
  • Rest

I did some stretches after that and went home. I didn’t work out on Saturday.

Low point of the week? I ate and drank a lot on Thursday night.

High point of the week? Four workouts done this week!

Weight loss? No change.

Think positively

Read more updates here.

Dubai 2015: Week 44

After the gym on Sunday I came home, got into my pajamas and worked for the rest of the day. I suddenly had about 20 papers to copyedit, all with deadlines for this week!

On Monday morning I had a session with Pete and later that afternoon I had a piano lesson. After my piano lesson I walked over to Spa Zen at the Nassima Royal Hotel (formerly the Radisson Royal) and had a massage. I had one more voucher left which expired at the end of October and I needed to use it. The massage was amazing, as always.

After my yoga class, Ajay (our cook/housekeeper) and I went to Lulu for the weekly shop. Tedious, as usual. I came home and worked the rest of the day. Dad was out playing poker so it was quiet at home and I got a lot done.

I had another session with Pete on Wednesday morning. That afternoon I met up with a friend who was visiting from London with her family. She had a hectic schedule but I knew she was staying at Chelsea Tower Apartments so we managed to meet for a coffee. After that I came home, got into my pajamas and worked until the evening.

On Thursday evening I met up with some friends who were visiting from London. One of their friends who lives in Dubai had suggested meeting at Times of Arabia at Madinat Jumeirah for dinner. I’d never eaten there and thought it was an odd choice for Lebanese food. I met them there at 10pm – which suited me fine as I had so much work to do that day! I was the first to arrive. When I got there I noticed that the whole place smelled like grilled meat. My hair and clothes were going to stink when we walked out of there! I sat at the table and waited for the others. When they arrived, we ordered some food and wine. The food is pretty much the same as what you would get anywhere else. I hadn’t had hummus in ages and had forgotten how good it was! With our main course we ordered a portion of grilled prawns – these were excellent. We skipped dessert and walked around for a while but by this time it was 12.45am and most things were closing. I was happy to go home and carry on with some work.

On Friday I met some friends for brunch at Tesoro at the Taj in Business Bay. We picked this place because I had two Entertainer vouchers for brunch – so we’d get four brunches for the price of two. The place was lovely – very chilled – with a live band and saxophonist in one corner playing jazz. It was really nice. It was also very bright, which was great as the weather had just started to get cooler and it’s nice to be outdoors.

2015-10-30 15.40.46

Tesoro is a Peruvian restaurant so there was a good choice of ceviche and sushi. There was also a pancake station where you could have pancakes topped with guacamole or Peking duck (Peruvian?). I didn’t have much of the main course – just the beef anticuchos which I liked. We weren’t sitting outside but once it was a bit cooler we moved outdoors – the view was stunning.

We sat outdoors with our wine for quite a while and I got home at 7pm. I went home, sat with my dad for a few minutes, got changed and headed off to see Take That in concert! Yes, it was a busy day! I’d been looking forward to Take That for ages. We didn’t get to the Media City Amphitheatre until after 8pm and the place was rammed. I’d never seen it so crowded!

I also took a video of ‘Relight My Fire’ but I can hear someone singing really badly in the background and it may have been me! They sang a lot of their old songs: ‘Never Forget’, ‘A Million Love Songs’, ‘Could It Be Magic’, ‘Love Ain’t Here Anymore’, ‘Pray’, ‘Rule the World’. They were brilliant and were on stage for the whole 90 minutes.

When the concert finished, we headed to the bar at the Radisson Blu because we knew it would take ages to get a cab. We had some more drinks (I’d been drinking all day) and at around 12.30 we left. On my way home I stopped at Zaatar w Zeit because I was famished! Their pepperoni pizza really hit the spot.

I woke up on Saturday feeling… ugh. I spent most of the day in my pajamas but had to go to a condolence meeting at the Oberoi at 6pm. I came home after that and got changed. I met my friends from London for dinner at Bussola at the Westin Mina Seyahi Hotel. I’d never been there but had always heard how amazing it is. We sat outdoors on the terrace – the weather was lovely. I left the ordering to them – I had some burrata (yum), seafood salad (it looked better than it tasted), pizza with salami (real salami) and pizza with mushrooms and truffle oil. I could smell the truffles from my end of the table and my mouth started watering! We also had some wine.

After dinner, we went back to their hotel. They were staying at the Fairmont the Palm and we decided to have some tea/coffee on the terrace. I got home at around 1am. I did no work at all over the weekend!

I love my life.

For more updates, click here.

The final few

I went to the Shangri-La gym on Sunday morning and decided to do Week 3 Day 3 of the 5k Runner app by Fitness22. I had done it the week before, but is there any point in moving on to the next level when you’re struggling with the earlier ones?

  • Warmup x 5 min
  • Run x 2 min (7.5 km/h)
  • Walk x 2 min (5.5 km/h)
  • Run x 3 min (7.5 km/h)
  • Walk x 3 min (5.5 km/h)
  • Run x 3 min (7.5 km/h)
  • Walk x 3 min (5.5 km/h)
  • Run x 2 min (7.5 km/h)
  • Walk x 2 min (5.5 km/h)
  • Cooldown x 5 min

It was still bloody hard – especially the 3 min runs. I did Week 3 Day 3 of the squats app:

  • Squats x 12
  • Rest x 45 s
  • Squats x 16
  • Rest x 45 s
  • Squats x 14
  • Rest x 45 s
  • Squats x 10
  • Rest

That’s 52 squats! And I did Week 3 Day 3 of the situps app:

  • Situps x 6
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Situps x 8
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Situps x 10
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Situps x 8
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Situps x 6
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Situps x 5
  • Rest

That’s 43 situps! I did a few stretches after that and went home.

I had a session with Pete on Monday. He told me it was going to be a very ‘active’ session. I began with a 10-minute uphill walk (starting with an incline of 1% and increasing it every minute). I did the warmup stretches after that. The warmup stretches are quite thorough and there are a lot of them! It goes like this:

  • Neck turn x 4 on each side
  • Neck roll x 4 on each side
  • Shoulder rotation x 4 in both directions
  • Hands on shoulder rotation x 4 in both directions
  • Arm swings x 4 in both directions
  • Upper body circles x 4 in both directions
  • Hula hoop x 4 in both directions
  • Knee circles x 4 in both directions
  • Ankle circles x 4 in both directions (one ankle at a time!)
  • Walking knee to chest stretch (stretch on every third step)
  • Walking heel to butt stretch (stretch on every third step)
  • Inner thigh stretch x 4 on each side
  • Walking straight leg stretch (touching the opposite toe on every third step)
  • Walking ‘superman’ stretch (leaning forward on one leg with the other leg straight out behind you)
  • Walking lunge and twist (lunge on every third step)
  • Deep squat x 2 (held for 10 s)
  • Walking on tiptoes
  • Walking on heels
  • ‘Wedding’ walk (walking from heel to tiptoe)

That’s a lot of stretches! The walking stretches are done walking across the gym.

After all those stretches, Pete told me I was going to do the ‘110’ workout. Oh god. I’d done it before and it wasn’t fun. It went like this:

  • Treadmill x 100 m
  • Forward and backward lunge x 10
  • Treadmill x 100 m
  • Lateral pulldown x 10
  • Treadmill x 100 m
  • Uneven squats x 10 on each side (one foot on the treadmill)
  • Treadmill x 100 m
  • Bent over row x 10 (10-lb weights)
  • Treadmill x 100 m
  • Step-ups (on to the treadmill) x 10 on each side
  • Treadmill x 100 m
  • Standing cable row x 10
  • Treadmill x 100 m
  • Jumping jacks x 10

Phew – it was over! I had a short break and did the following circuit:

  • Side step squats x 7 on each side (with a resistance band above my knees)
  • Pushups x 10
  • Tricep dips to failure
  • Rest

I did that circuit three times. In the first set I could do 13 tricep dips, in the second set I did 8 and in the third set I did 7.

After some more water, I did an abs circuit:

  • Crunches x 10
  • Toe touches x 10
  • Reverse crunches x 10
  • Rest

I did some stretches after that set and was done for the day. Pete told me my shoulders and triceps might be a bit sore the next morning but when I woke up on Tuesday I was absolutely fine.

I had yoga on Tuesday – nothing new to report there!

I had another session with Pete on Wednesday morning. I started with a warmup on the treadmill:

  • Walking x 2 min
  • Running x 30 s/walking x 30 s x 5 min
  • Running x 3 min

After stretching, it was weights for the rest of the session. I began with the first superset:

  • Front squat x 14 (10-lb weights)
  • Deadlifts x 14 (15-lb weights)
  • Rest x 1 min

I did that three times. Pete told me my form during the front squats needed improving so for the second and third sets I used only one 10-lb weight.

I then did the next superset:

  • Dumbbell chest fly x 14 (10-lb weights)
  • Prone fly x 14 (10-lb weights)
  • Rest x 1 min

I found both of those exercises tough and was struggling by the third set! After some water, I did one set of an abs circuit:

  • Plank x 30 s
  • Crunches x 10 (hands raised by my hips)
  • Crunches x 10 (hands above my knees)
  • Crunches x 10 (hands overhead)

I dreaded the plank but I found it much easier than I expected!

The next superset consisted of:

  • Lateral pulldown x 14
  • Shoulder press x 14 (10-lb weights)
  • Rest x 1 min

I found the shoulder press really hard – in the second and third sets I did 8 reps using both weights and then 6 reps with just one 10-lb weight.

I did another abs circuit:

And another abs circuit:

  • Wood chopper x 30 s (15 s on each side with a 10-lb weight)
  • Crunches x 30 (as before)

I did some stretches after that and was done.

By Wednesday evening I could feel some soreness in my left knee and hoped it would disappear overnight. I expected to have sore shoulders the following morning too.

On Thursday morning my knee was still a little sore, but not as bad as the day before, and I wasn’t sore anywhere else. I was tired though and running for 30 minutes didn’t appeal to me at all. I soon realised that I didn’t have to run, I could just walk and see how I felt. I got to the gym, got on the treadmill and aimed to do 30 minutes. For the first 5 minutes I walked at 5.5 km/h and for the next 25 minutes I varied the speed between 6 km/h and 6.5 km/h. I did 3.03 km in 30 minutes, which I’m sure is better than sitting on the sofa at home doing nothing. I decided to skip the squats app because I didn’t want to make my knee worse and did Week 4 Day 1 of the situps app:

  • Situps x 7
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Situps x 8
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Situps x 10
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Situps x 8
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Situps x 7
  • Rest x 30 s
  • Situps x 6

I did a few stretches after that and came back home.

I really like the Fitness22 apps – I like the way you can switch from the running app to the squats app to the situps app without having to exit the app and look for the other ones you want. The only issue I have is that once your workout has ended, the music stops. So if I’m done with the running app and switch to the squats app I have to start the music all over again. Does anyone else use these apps and do you know something I don’t??

I didn’t work out again at the weekend.

Low point of the week? I drank a lot on Friday – I was out for brunch and also went to see Take That in the evening.

High point of the week? Five workouts done this week!

Weight loss? Still going up and down.

2015-10-29 08.30.47

Read more updates here.